The Formidable Years
As a child, Marketing was always loquacious, a doodler, and squirmy – voted “Most Likely to Be Told to Shut-Up,” she sharpened her latent skills in secret, occasionally posting her art on billboards, doing voice overs on an old cassette recorder, and even making a fluke cameo in a school play with a minor sing-song role. But no one noticed.
Generously provided a diploma and sent on her way, after graduation she meandered through part-time jobs – waiting tables and moonlighting as a street artist selling a few pieces to magazine execs who used them in ads. Family muttered at dinners and gigs were scarce.
Single with Jingles
Her first good-paying job was as a broadcaster on a local radio show. She loved the writing and performing – being able to broadcast her message to a larger audience. She came up with little ear-catching jingles that were memorable to some. Still, she felt only “half successful” – never sure which half of her act worked.
Soon, she enrolled in night school, studied statistics (of all things), and brought to the station the idea of doing surveys to see which bits the audience liked. It worked. The station manager even coined a new term for the audience breakdown by age groups – calling them “segments.” They crafted shows to cater to different segments that listened at various times. The station quickly became tops in the market. Yet, something was still missing – that direct connection with her listeners. She’d do local events, having drinks with fans, but habitual cocktailing was exhausting and not scalable.
One night, at one of those station events, Marketing met Technology. Tech gushed about emerging addressable channels, world-wide webs, email at scale, and mobility, making an impression on Marketing. Although he was socially awkward, they hit it off, further confirming the Laws of Adjacency Physics that complementary opposites attract. A few months later they married and the rest, as they say is Database Marketing, Content Marketing, and Martech history. The they went on to have a few offspring… well over 5,000 in fact.
Thanksgiving season calls on us to be thankful for things we otherwise take for granted. Marketing, eternally lambasted by non-believers as that group that creates logos and pretty slides, home of the artsy-fartsy types, creators of junk mail, and hosts of the two-drink minimum parties (they’re just jealous) – deserves better this year.
Like so many things, there’s good, bad, and ugly. Surgeons are not all good. Neither are marketers. But how many times have you ever heard someone thank a great marketer. Here’s an argument for why you should this year.
The collected evidence, submitted for your consideration:
Great marketing doesn’t happen by chance. It takes devoted and creative people – brilliant, diverse, methodical and collaborative people, many with incredible range of art-science motion, who come together from all walks of life: artists, sociologists, journalists, improv artists, movie producers, broadcasters, computer scientists, data scientists, quants, researchers, linguistics experts (and occasionally a trained marketer) ….and together they’ve brought us…
~ Humor and entertainment:
Exhibit #1: Arguably all starting with this Fedex ad in 1981, opening a new advertising chapter using laughter to engage us.
Exhibit #2: Anheuser Busch’s Bud Light TV ad oeuvre not only makes us laugh, as they pitch a watered-down lager, they also put commercials on center stage with edgy material constantly pushing marketing’s comedic and acceptable lingo boundaries. Case in point…check out this one, taking the liberalization of profanity to new levels (up or down – depending on your view).
It’s strange nowadays to see any successful ad that doesn’t have some wit, jocularity, or chuckle-worthy aspect. Admit it – half the reason you tune into the Super Bowl is for the commercials – and it’s not because you’re hoping to discover a more absorbent paper towel to wipe up your coveted light beer.
~ Amazingly eye-pleasing art and creativity in ad visuals – meaning we don’t hate the ads we view.
~ Innovative products, that we want, because someone cared to listen to us or went out of their way to push their corporate culture to innovate. Such as:
- Better ways to make reservations, vacation, get from point A to point B, shop, find a job, keep in touch with family and friends, and watch movies
~ A better more personalized experience with products and services…
- You like personalized music consumption – thank marketing
- Enjoy your video-on-demand with recommended content – thank marketing
- Dig the nudges you get to exercise more, so you don’t waste away on a couch – thank marketing
- Fancy discounts, rebates, and points for stuff you buy and use – thank marketing
Presently, I’ve got no glib prognostications, no “Five Marketing Best Practices,” and no “2017’s most disruptive Martech startups” (maybe next post).
Rather, today I’m pausing to admire how far marketing’s come, how much smarter she is, how attractive she’s become (she put blood, sweat, and tears into that beach body), and how proud we should be of her when she does excellent work.
So, this thanksgiving season, go out of you way to thank someone you probably have never thanked before. Thank a great marketer. I will.